If you’re unhappy with your cable service, you aren’t alone. And according to Susan Crawford, a communications policy expert and a professor at the Cardozo School of Law, America’s cable companies aren’t just guilty of charging higher prices for sub par service, but also of stifling competition and innovation in the United States broadband market. In an interview with NPR’s Diane Rehm, Crawford makes the case that “a handful of cable companies have become monopolies that stifle competition and innovation,” which is a major reason “why Americans pay more money for worse Internet service than consumers in most other developed nations.” More →
More than 400,000 American homes have cut the cord and ditched their cable and satellite pay-TV services since the start of 2012. The figure includes 169,000 subscribers shed by Time Warner Cable (TWC) last quarter, marking the service provider’s tenth consecutive quarter of customer losses. It also includes the 52,000 net subscribers DirecTV (DTV) lost this past quarter, and 176,000 customers who left Comcast (CMCSA). Reuters points to high unemployment rates, a weak housing market and regular programming factors as key contributing factors for the drop, but other factors may include the increasing amount of available Web-based content and high costs of cable and satellite-based TV service. A report from earlier this year suggested that more than 1 million U.S. households disconnected their pay-TV services in 2011.
Yes, Google Fiber is only being launched in Kansas City so far. And sure, there’s not much hope that it will spread across the entire country for the near future. But that doesn’t mean Google’s (GOOG) insanely fast 1Gbps fiber network shouldn’t be pushing cable companies and other ISPs to up their games in terms of both service quality and pricing. More →
It seems that a good number of people who have unsubscribed from cable or satellite television services never want to go back. According to a new survey released Tuesday by deal-aggregation website TechBargains.com, 33% of cable and satellite subscribers who have cut the cord say they will never go back even if service providers “drastically” reduce their prices. The survey also found that 83% of people who have ditched cable or satellite have done so due to high cost, while 17% of people who ditched their service did so because they were unhappy with the service or content provided. In all, 52% of the people surveyed were current cable subscribers, 19% were current digital satellite subscribers and 29% were former subscribers of cable or satellite. Hit the jump for the full release. More →
More than 1 million cable television subscribers in the United States canceled their service in 2011, opting instead for online films and TV shows available through services like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Nearly 2.65 million cable or satellite TV subscribers have canceled their service since 2008 to rely solely on Web-based services according to estimates from the Convergence Consulting Group. “It’s pretty obvious that there’s actual cord-cutting going on in the U.S.,” Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence Consulting, said in an interview with Bloomberg. The firm warns that the pace of defections may slow this year, however, as content providers tighten online access to shows and increase prices. It is estimated that roughly 930,000 customers will cut the cord in 2012, for a total of 3.58 million subscribers since 2008. The group also estimates that traditional television providers will add 185,000 accounts this year, up from 112,000 in 2011. More →
On Tuesday, a report surfaced claiming Netflix was in talks with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services. The report stated that at least one cable provider was considering the launch of a trial run before the end of the year. Comcast, however, will not be that company, FierceCable reported. “We have no plans to offer access to Netflix to our customers through our Xfinity TV service, no matter what device,” Comcast spokeswoman Alana Davis said. The cable company recently launched “Streampix,” a subscription video service that competes with Netflix, allowing Xfinity subscribers to access TV series and movies from PCs and mobile devices. More →
Netflix’s chief executive Reed Hastings has been meeting with some of the largest cable companies in the U.S. to discuss integrating the company’s streaming product into cable services, Reuters reported on Tuesday. The site’s source said that at least one cable provider may experiment and offer the streaming service before the end of the year. If a partnership were to come from these talks, cable operators could offer Netflix as an additional on-demand option that would be added onto a subscriber’s monthly cable bill. The cable industry originally viewed Netflix as a threat to its $100 billion-a-year business, fearing users would abandon more expensive packages in favor of cheap online streaming services. Having Netflix as an added option could be appealing to many cable companies in an effort to retain “cord cutting” customers. “It’s not in the short term, but it’s in the natural direction for us in the long term,” said Hastings during an investor conference last week. “Many [cable service providers] would like to have a competitor to HBO, and they would bid us off of HBO.” More →
Google is reportedly looking to sell the set-top box business it will inherit from Motorola Mobility before its acquisition of the company closes, The New York Post reported on Wednesday. CEO Larry Page previously claimed the manufacturer’s set-top division would help Google revolutionize the living room. Many people, however, view the clunky cable box as an obstacle to newer and more advanced technology that integrate TV and the Internet. According to Infonetics, a company that tracks the set-top box market, last year was the sector’s peak and sales will see a sharp decline this year and in the future. Motorola attempted to sell the business for $4.5 billion in 2009, however the sale was unsuccessful. The Post claims that Google is looking to sell the business for between $2.5 billion and $4 billion. More →
Boxee will begin shipping its new Boxee Live TV tuners this week according to a post on the company’s blog. The new device is a dongle that provides Boxee Box owners with the ability to watch local broadcast TV stations. The Boxee Box accessory costs just $49.99 and it is likely best for those who have turned to Boxee to replace their cable television subscription, not those who are using it as a supplement. The Boxee Live TV tuner supports the following:
- Social Channel Listings – We’ll show you what’s on, what your friends are watching, and how many people total are watching a show as you flip through channels.
- Sharing – Share the traditional Boxee way on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr AND you can now passively share to Facebook using our Live TV Timeline App – turn sharing on and whatever you’re tuned into will post to your Facebook ticker automatically. It’s easy to switch off too so your friends don’t need to know about your addiction to HSN.
- Edit Channels - Quickly hide channels from your lineup that don’t speak your language or have pissed you off with bad programming decisions like taking Arrested Development off the air. Easily rename WNDHCTA 7.2 to NBC.
- All-In-One Interface – done watching a show on broadcast, easily jump into more episodes from the web. It’s the best of both worlds all on the same remote.
9% of consumers in the United States have already cut cable TV service from their monthly utility bills, the latest State of the Media Democracy survey from Deloitte indicates. The company also found that 11% of U.S. consumers are considering cutting cable TV. Younger generations are more likely to get rid of cable TV, too. Deloitte found that 19% of those aged 23-28 are thinking about canceling cable while 13% of Generation Xers and 7% of baby boomers said they are considering doing the same. “For the first time, less than half of all viewers say they have viewed their favorite shows live on their home TV,” Phil Asmundson, Deloitte’s U.S. Media & Telecommunications Sector Leader said. “In 2011, the number was only 49%. In 2008, it was 71%. That’s striking.” Read on for more. More →
The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently published three Thunderbolt related patents that suggest Apple may have plans to build Intel’s Thunderbolt connections into its iOS devices. As Patently Apple points out, Apple may build its own cabling technology that gives it exclusive rights to how Thunderbolt technology might be built into portable devices. Thunderbolt ports would allow for faster data transfers on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, as well as shorter charging times. One of Apple’s more revealing patents describes stronger Thunderbolt cables that could handle greater amounts of data more efficiently and without overheating. Apple says in its patent that the Thunderbolt connections “may be provided between a portable media player and a display, a computer and a portable media player, or between other types of devices.” Apple currently has a number of devices, including displays and computers, with Thunderbolt ports. The company does not yet offer a portable device with the I/O option, however. More →
When we last heard from social media listening firm Mashwork, we learned that future smartphone buyers were much more interested in purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S II than the 4G-friendly Motorola DROID BIONIC. Mashwork is back on Monday with some more interesting findings: according to the firm’s latest research, 45% more people prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus than vice versa. Pulling data from 10,283 relevant tweets between June 28th and July 6th, 2011, 29% of all users prefer Netflix over Hulu Plus for streaming movies and TV shows, while 20% prefer Hulu Plus over Netflix. Also of note, 51% of those accounted for in Mashwork’s study use both services and are hoping to cut the cord with their cable or satellite TV providers. Hulu certainly would like to have been positioned better in the study; Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed at a recent Allen & Co conference that Hulu owners NBCUniversal, News Corp and Disney/ABC Television Group are currently trying to sell the company. Mashwork’s full infographic follows below. More →
We’ve been keeping our ears to the floor for news on what Microsoft has in store for the E3 trade show, which kicks off early next week, and we’re finally starting to hear some mumblings. According to winrumors, Microsoft is finalizing media partnerships and plans to debut a new Xbox LIVE subscription TV service — currently being called “Diamond” — during its press conference. Xbox LIVE Diamond should allow Xbox LIVE customers to watch streaming television provided by Microsoft’s content partners, although it’s currently unclear how much the subscription will cost. The Redmond-based company has also recently trademarked “Fusion Vault, “Fusion Genesis,” and “Fusion Sentient,” and it reportedly has a music and video discovery service dubbed “Ventura” in the works, too. We’ll be reporting from E3 next week in Los Angeles where we’re sure to hear plenty more. More →